The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is designed to protect consumers in a variety of transactions for both tangible items and services. To establish liability under the Act, proof of three elements is generally required: (1) unlawful conduct by a defendant; (2) an ascertainable loss sustained by the plaintiff; and (3) a causal relationship between the unlawful conduct and the ascertainable loss.
With regard to the first element, there are three categories of unlawful conduct that can result in liability under the Act: affirmative acts; knowing omissions, and regulatory violations. As to the second element, to prove an ascertainable loss under the Act, litigants must demonstrate that they sustained a quantifiable loss of money or property, real or personal. Finally, plaintiffs bringing claims under the Act must demonstrate a nexus between the unlawful act and the recoverable damages – or that the unlawful act was the immediate cause of the loss.
A person who satisfies all three elements and recovers under the Act is entitled to threefold damages (or 3 times the ascertainable loss), in addition to reasonable attorneys fees, filing fees and reasonable costs of suit. Indeed, the penalties for fraudulent behavior under the Act are harsh, and were designed by the Legislature to deter fraudulent conduct and protect consumers.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you should contact an experienced New Jersey Consumer Fraud Lawyer who can analyze the facts of your case and explain your rights. The law limits the time in which you may bring a claim under the Consumer Fraud Act, so don’t wait.